Medicaid Expansionists: You Are What You Eat
Despite Gov. Bill Haslam’s commitment—at least for now—to resist federal pressures to embrace Obamacare through the expansion of Medicaid, many leftist parties at home remain bent on opening Pandora’s box in Tennessee. “It’s free federal dollars,” or so they claim, so why doesn’t Tennessee get in the government handout line? Fortunately, Haslam’s administration has thus far ensured that Tennessee stands with the 23 other states that are refusing Medicaid expansion dollars from Uncle Sam. Indiana’s defection reduced the total number of resisting states from 25 to 24, and now we see a prime example of what happens when the chicken comes home to roost. Gov. Mike Pence of Indiana recently submitted his Medicaid expansion plan to the feds, claiming that he remained vehemently opposed to Obamacare and threatening to walk away from negotiations if the Obama administration tinkered with his proposal. Yet, with all the posturing of an elephant leashing the donkey and leading it to water, Pence’s promises appear to fall flat at home. His decision to submit an expansion plan is widely unpopular, and now we are beginning to see the socio-economic consequences in store for Indiana residents. According to the newly released study by Federalism in Action, a project of State Budget Solutions and the State Policy Network, Medicaid expansion in Indiana will wreak havoc on the state’s economic climate. In Pence’s plan, “Healthy Indiana 2.0,” the state will add $2.9 billion in annual Medicaid spending. In total, it is estimated that Indiana’s private sector will incur $9.5 billion economic losses. “So what?” At least that’s the knee-jerk reaction from leftists who claim that you shouldn’t put a price on healthcare coverage. It may be tempting to believe that these esoteric dollar signs do not have a harmful impact on average Indianans. But as Dwight from The Office would say: “FALSE”. And here’s why:
- $9.5 billion private-sector decline means $3,721 less income for every Indiana household; or,
- No change in personal income, but a loss of 176,928 private-sector jobs.
That’s cooking the chicken two ways, neither of which is appetizing. Unfortunately, unless Pence makes good on a threat to walk away from the expansion discussions, this is what Indianans will be eating for years to come. Let’s hope Gov. Haslam remains resistant to subjecting Tennesseans to the same menu options. -Lindsay Boyd